Safecast Summer Workshops Take Off In a Big Way – Especially with Kids

Safecast workshops were a whirlwind of activity in the late summer months with a series of events, many of which were for kids and families.

The Safecast Mori Kids’ Mirai Summer Camp Workshop at Roppongi Hills. The kids who participated learned how to build a geiger counter, how to measure radiation, and what radiation is all about.

Pieter and Kiki give a group pointers before beginning an outdoor radiation survey session.

These kids learned firsthand that granite stairs are naturally a little bit radioactive!

One of the season’s highlights was the third Safecast Mori Kids’ Mirai Summer Camp Workshop on Radiation, held in Tokyo’s famous Roppongi Hills. The event took place over two sold-out days where groups of 20-25 kids got an introduction to the basics of radiation, radiation measurement and building electronics.

The children built their own Geiger counters, and also used bGeigies to measure radiation levels in the surrounding areas. Safecast would like to thank Mori Building and the people working there for their great support and help during this and past events. A special thanks should also go to Mariko at Loftwork Tokyo for helping coordinate everything and to volunteers like Joe, Azby, Kiki, Rob and Yuka for helping out at the event itself.

Safecast Hong Kong team on the way.

Safecaster Tim Wong of FabCafe Taipei, who helped organise the Hong Kong workshops, provides an informative introduction to the world of Safecast and Citizen Science.

A young workshop attendee gets a hands-on radiation lesson.

The Official Safecast Radiation Workshop Flowchart.

Safecast was also in Hong Kong for two days of workshops at the Youth Square Centre, one of the biggest youth centres in the country.

The workshop included special guest appearances from long-time Safecast friends, volunteers and collaborators. Cesar Harada showcased his modified bGeigie setup that has been used to measure radiation levels in sea and riverbeds around Fukushima while artist Chris Cheung Hon Him talked about his virtual city-scape based on the Safecast data.

Safecast, STEM and engaging communities

 

 

Pieter helps a Seoul workshop participant with building her bGeigie Nano.

Busy worktables at the Safecast Seoul workshop.

Joe, always on hand to provide advice.

The Seoul workshop participants hit the streets to try out their new bGeigie Nanos.

In July, Safecast was in Seoul, Korea for two great workshops at the by all means impressive Hardware Accelerator N15. This maker space was the ideal venue for the around 20 participants to build bGeigies and learn about citizen science the Safecast way with hands-on kGeigie kits and measuring Seoul. A total of eight new bGeigies left the shop floor, ready to do radiation measurements. A big thanks to Safecast supporter and innovation catalyst Hugh Choi and his wonderful team who did an awesome job organising and preparing. Many thanks and we hope to see you all soon!

The many children – and parents – attending the workshops underscore a general trend that Safecast has seen evolve during its existence: an increased interest from younger generations, families, as well as educational institutions, in citizen science and community data.

This is particularly great to experience, as one of Safecast’s core activities and goals is to engage communities about what is happening in their surrounding environment. Through the collection and analysis of data, communities gain insights into what is going on around them, and the possibility to compare their own data and insights with those from organisations and authorities.

Safecast’s stated goals also include giving children and young people first-hand experience with citizen science and building their own electronic equipment. It is our firm belief that the experience of building one’s own devices and being able to use them in real-world settings is central to developing their interest in STEM fields.

Citizen science is rarely, if ever, part of the regular school curricula, but Safecast has been encouraged by the increase in questions and requests from educational institutions that are looking for ways to integrate Safecast data and workshops into their educational programs in STEM fields.

About the Author

Marc Prosser

Marc is British, Danish, Geekish, Bookish, Sportish, and loves anything in the world that goes 'booiingg'. He is a freelance journalist and researcher living in Tokyo and writes about all things science and tech. He started volunteering for Safecast after writing articles about their work following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami - and because he believes that data and technology should be open and readily available.